Wildfire smoke and its effects
This year has a lot of wildfires sweeping across different parts of the world since January. There has been a very huge wildfire disaster in North American states, some parts of Europe, and Africa that have wrecked the environment globally. Moreover, these wildfires have damaged local communities in the worst possible manner and have contributed to climate change causing more of global warming and many other problems.
Wildfires can destroy the environment wholly as it releases gases like carbon dioxide and other greenhouse compounds. These gases have been continuously warming our planet. Forests have been damaged due and CO2 has been increasing alarmingly. Thus future global conditions regarding the environment and atmosphere are at massive risk with complex and adverse effects on the warming and cooling of the Earth's environment.
The smoke coming from wildfires comprises particulate matter, carcinogens, harmful compounds like nitrogen oxide, benzene, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds. All of such pollutants can decrease the quality of air significantly. The harmful effects of these wildfire smokes have been spreading from downwind of fires to far areas from local communities. The wildfires are also marked with the deaths of thousands of people every year.
This wildfire smoke causes a lot of health problems too. Its exposure can increase the risk of chronic health problems like lung damage and heart diseases. It can also cause respiratory problems like asthma, chest tightness, coughing, bronchitis, and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also known as COPD. There is also a huge risk of infections in the eyes, nose, and throat causing severe health issues.
Use of masks for various purposes
Masks are important tools for personal safety. Wearing a face can be an essential way to prevent body risks in different conditions. Masks, if taken as a precautionary measure, can help prevent the acquaintance of infections and protect the people from contracting various infections caused by airborne particles and germs.
Masks are an essential part of the infection control strategy to prevent the contraction of diseases and reduce cross-contamination within the environment. Medical professionals recommend face masks as simple and easy-to-use equipment as a barrier against air pollutants. Masks can provide source control- prevention of passing of germs and infectious particles from entering the body of individuals even if they are present in a risky environment.
Use of masks for wildfire smoke
According to The Wildfire Guide, public health officials are advised to keep in check the availability of masks. For this purpose, people must access NISOH-approved particle filtering masks and respirators. Authorities are advised to distribute these respirators in local communities. The use of proper N95 masks as advised by NISOH can protect from wildfire smoke as well.
The NIOSH-approved masks provide 95% protection against the airborne particles and lower the risk of health issues in individuals. If masks are not used properly in wildfire smokes, people can attain chronic illness and can even die of the infectious particles and harmful compounds present in the air.
Various masks that can be used for wildfire smoke
Surgical masks are also called medical masks. These are a loose-fitting disposable mask that protects by eliminating the exposure of harmful airborne particles. These protect the individuals by stopping the passage of particles through the nose and mouth. These eliminate direct contact with germs and air pollutants.
Thus people experiencing the hazards of wildfire smoke must be wearing a mask so that they can be protected from the harmful effects of the smoke. These surgical respirators and masks filter out large particles from entering the mouth or nose of the wearer and protect the respiratory pathway and the related organs from being damaged.
N95 masks are the best and premium quality respirators that provide maximum protection against the airborne particles. These are NISOH-approved filtering equipment that is advised by health care professionals. It filters both the large and small particles and prevents them from entering into the mouth and nose of the wearer. It filters 95% of the air pollutants as indicated by the name “N95 masks”.
There are some of the N95 masks with one-way valves that make them easy to use and easy to breathe through. These N95 masks are advised as essential equipment to be used in wildfire smoke areas so that the body doesn’t get damaged from chronic health issues like lung cancer and heart diseases. The N95 masks are way better in their filtering quality even in a severe environmental condition as wildfire smoke.
The clothe masks are used for protection against airborne particles in not-so-severe conditions. It traps the droplets and eliminates the cross-contamination process the wearer coughs or talks. These cloth masks are often manufactured from ordinary material or stuff like sheets or fabric made of cotton. These need to have multiple layers of fabric so that it can filter out the pollutants. However, they are not recommended to be used in wildfire smoke area.
Besides being harmful to the environment, wildfire smokes are extremely injurious to health. So the use of masks is advised and recommended for the local people so that they don't get to be affected by damages of wildfire smoke. Good quality masks and respirators can provide maximum protection against the wildfire smoke. For prevention is always better than cure, so find a NISOH-approved mask if you get to be in a locality of wildfire smoke.